DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

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People to People Technical Communications Professional Delegation to China—Day 8

I had breakfast with Kathleen and James this morning, both of whom I really like. They are partners and they live in Seattle, Washington. Kathleen is a delegate, and James is her guest. She's a user experience specialist.

Our morning professional meeting was with the Guilin Hunter Information Industry Limited Corporation. I like how the Board Chairman and General Manager of the corporation, Mr. Jiang Tai, asked us to give him our thoughts on what their logo meant—smart to take an advantage of a free international usability test or focus group.

Unfortunately, we didn't notice that the logo formed a sort of "H" (for Hunter), but probably mostly because we weren't expecting it to be something English-related. He talked about how, basically, they're big on the H—three of them, for: Hunter (as in hunting and gathering), Highway (as in going/moving forward into the 21st century), and Hero (what they want to be—heroes).

Next they covered their goals, their historical milestones, and their main businesses, which are software outsourcing and product development. Their main product is RFID, known by lay people as barcoding technology.

They had 12-15 people present, and here's a shot of them. Mr. Tai is the guy second from the left. (Notice the nice banner on the wall.)

Here's a subset of our delegation. Linda, our leader, is in the middle of the picture in the brown jacket, and Shawn is sitting to the right of her, partially hidden by the plant.

Shawn is our People to People "National Guide," which means he travels throughout the trip with us to the three cities. He's also our translator during meetings, and today I made this note when he was translating some extremely technical stuff: "Shawn is fucking brilliant." Mind you, he is not a technical communicator, or even a computer person, so his job is very, very challenging; especially when people go on and on with a technical response and then he has to translate it.

In addition to having a great personality, he had superb language skills, both in speaking and translating, and uses shorthand as well to capture main points in long responses.

Their delegation asked us two heavy-duty questions:
  1. What impact do we feel the subprime mortgage debacle is having in our industry, and

  2. What are the implications to our profession on outsourcing technical jobs?
We groveled through that with various perspectives from our widely diverse delegation. I gave the specific example of the impact of a technical writer being outsourced by noting that in my job as an editor at IBM, I edited for one outsourced writer, a lady from Bangalore, and the impact that I experienced was that, at the beginning, I spent more time on copyediting her work than on doing a technical edit.

Earlier when Mr. Tai was speaking, he mentioned that he had spent six months working NYC, and he found the biggest obstacle for him to be not understanding the American corporate culture. I asked him, "Can you articulate what about the American corporate culture that was so confounding to you? Was it the capitalistic mindset? The professional and social interaction of the employees of the company? The language itself? Or something other than that?

After our usual group photograph consisting of both delegations together, our exchange of gifts, and exchange of business cards, we headed off to Yuxi Lou Restaurant, which was in the midst of a beautiful park, in which we had some free time to roam after lunch. Here are some pictures from the park.

It had a cute little bridge in it, and here I am on it, compliments of Konrad's photography work:

Here's another angle showing the mountainous rocks in the background. On the bridge is Jeanne (a delegate) and her daughter (Kirsten) a guest:

A couple of shots of the flora:

And, as always, there's always a pagoda lurking surreptitiously:

And, of course, a couple of sign pictures:

I actually didn't find any grammar issues in this one:

Nor with this one. I just liked it:

Our afternoon meeting was with the Department of Electronics and Computer Science at Guilin University of Technology. We actually met with a programmers' club of theirs. The folks were all programmers, two women, and the rest guys. Here's a picture of most of them:

And our delegation—this is a better picture of Shawn, our guide:

You remember earlier, part of the plant covering Shawn's face? These folks are very fond of plant life down the middle of conference rooms. As you can see in this shot, it was also the case here:

This meeting was by far our best one so far, for a few reasons:
  1. None of these programmers were sure what technical communicators did. And when they found out we were coming, the googled the profession, and even after trying to read up on it, still didn't quite get what we did.

  2. They were students, so they were tonally open and forthcoming about their questions and answers.

  3. As a result of that, it was very informal and comfortable.

Back at the hotel, I spent some time writing out postcards and putting the $.50 stamps on each one. "They" say they take 5-7 days to arrive in the States. I'll probably beat them home.

Dinner this evening was yet another Chinese restaurant and yet another Chinese meal. (I'm not sure what I expect. I am in China afterall.) I really didn't feel like going, though, and almost bowed out, but in the end said, "Go. You don't have to eat very much. Just go, be social, and take advantage of the opportunity and experience."

It ended up being a very enjoyable evening. I sat next to Richard, Nadine's husband, whom I really hadn't had any interaction with on the trip so far, and whom I really liked immediately. Nadine is a hoot, and they seem like a fun-loving couple. They are always off to find a bar to have a few drinks in wherever we go. They are from Belgium.

Back at the hotel, I walked around the city taking snapshots of its beauty and openness. First, I stopped at a coffee shop that Tan, our local guy had told us about, where they sell cheesecake. At first I thought maybe they were all out, because the only thing I saw that looked like cake slices were slices of Tiramasu and what was labeled Mocha Chocolate Cake.

Eventually I recognized the cheesecakes, by the little sign on them that said "Cheesecake," but they were in round ceramic bowls, much like you get creme brulee in in the States, only much bigger. It was way more than I wanted.

We had joked at dinner earlier that maybe the dessert was going to be chocolate cake. That being on my mind, I bought a slice of the Mocha Chocolate Cake. As I counted out the 50 Yuan for it, the cashier pointed down to the little pad on which she'd recorded the sale, where it said 15 Yuan.

Thank goodness she was honest, as $8 for a slice of $2.50 cake would have been a bit much. Okay a lot much, if you know me.

Here are some of the pics from around the city. People just seem to break into exercise along the river at night. Someone commented that it was leftover from before the "opening up," when the citizens were required to exercise:

"Foot Massage" on the left and "Body Massage" on the right:

This is the view from the bridge, looking down over the main street running around the lake. The neon arches are on this side of the street, and that building in the background is on the other side of the street.

This is the view of that bridge from which I took the previous picture:

Here's a shot of "The Nine Horses," except that I only see five. Tan told us the story of them, and I'm pretty sure that there were nine as that represented a lucky number of some such superstition, which the Chinese are big on. I'll have to google this when I get back.

And finally, a few of the local eateries:

Tags: people-to-people, self-pics, travel, vacation

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